It is generally assumed that plants can respond to varying degrees of physical damage by growth compensation via resprouting, and resprouting is a key functional trait in many species. Few studies have investigated how grass and shrub species distributed in moving dunes and semifixed dunes in semiarid areas respond to the combined effects of temperature and shoot removal. Medicago sativa, Artemisia ordosica, and Artemisia sphaerocephala plants were grown in a glasshouse for 8 weeks at air temperatures of 10/20°C, 12.5/22.5°C, 15/25°C, and 17.5/27.5°C (night/day) and were subjected to treatments of removing all leaves (LR), removing all leaves followed by cutting at half the plant height (HC), and removing all aboveground tissue (WC). The species, temperature, and damage extent had significant effects on the shoot number, leaf mass ratio, leaf area ratio and ratio of belowground to aboveground dry matter, and the species had a significant effect on the net assimilation rate, specific leaf area, and total biomass. The three species grew well under the HC and LR treatments, and high temperatures (15/25°C and 17.5/27.5°C) significantly promoted the regrowth of the three species. Medicago sativa grew faster than the two Artemisia species. Medicago sativa can be used for fertilizing or vegetation restoration in unimportant conservation areas, and the two Artemisia species can be effectively used for vegetation restoration in the Mu Us Sandland. Due to the low labor costs and the local climate conditions, plants should be clipped before the beginning of the main growing season (end of May or early June) to ensure rapid growth.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.